California was the first state to legalize ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft back in 2013. The California Public Utilities Commission created a new class of “Transportation Network Companies” that operated according to a separate set of rules from regulated taxicab services. This legislation left consumers with an unprecedented dilemma: who is responsible for ride sharing accidents? As an experienced ride sharing accident attorney in Los Angeles, Grey Law has the resources you need to make a case against ride share drivers and companies.
Who Is Responsible for a Ride Sharing Accident?
In 2014, California’s Labor Commissioner awarded an Uber driver more than $4,000 in business expenses after it rejected Uber’s stance that the driver was an independent contractor, not an employee. This is an important distinction other states have yet to make. Uber alleged that its drivers are independent contractors, and thus the company is not involved in accidents. In states that agree with Uber’s classification, this means accident victims can only seek retribution from the individual driver instead of the company.
Independent contractors driving for ride sharing companies use their own private insurance policies. There is no guarantee that these policies are sufficient for covering a passenger’s personal damages. These insufficiencies can translate into increased risks for the passenger, whose legal rights are consequently limited. In California, however, it is feasible for a passenger to sue the ride sharing company for damages based on strict liability laws if the courts agree that the driver is an employee and not an independent contractor.
If you are involved in a ride sharing auto accident in California, you may be able to sue the ride share company as well as the driver as an individual. Strict liability laws typically make an employer legally responsible for the actions of employees while they are acting on job-related duties. Thus, if a ride share driver’s negligence caused your accident and the courts maintain that the driver is an employee, you and any other victims may sue the company. In cases where the driver is an independent contractor, victims can sue the individual for damages.
Ride Share Uber or Lyft Driver Liability Insurance in California
July 1, 2015 marked the first date that California required ride share drivers and companies to carry liability insurance coverage. Drivers must have liability insurance in three periods:
- When they open the app and wait for a match
- When they’re on their way to pick up a passenger
- When the passenger enters and exits the vehicle
Also after this date, California law asserts that typical personal auto insurance does not cover Transportation Network Company activities. The driver must maintain primary liability insurance with certain minimums, such as a $100,000 minimum for injury to multiple persons. The ride share company must also maintain $1 million in liability coverage for periods two and three as listed above. These laws help close insurance gaps in ride sharing coverage to ensure passengers and pedestrians are covered in the event of an accident.
Seek Council from our Los Angeles Ride Sharing Accident Attorneys
When you need help from an experienced Los Angeles Lyft accident attorney or Los Angeles Uber accident attorney, trust Grey Law. Our lawyers stay on top of the changing laws regarding ride sharing in California and in other states, and they know how to leverage previous case outcomes in favor of accident victims. Ride sharing accidents can be frightening and confusing. Leaving your personal injury lawsuit in expert hands can give you peace of mind.
To get in touch with our Los Angeles accident attorneys, call (323) 857-9500 for a free case evaluation. We will assess your accident and investigate the ride sharing company and driver responsible. Contact us to speak with an attorney about your rights as a ride sharing passenger or pedestrian involved in an accident.